CLIA Report Shows Uptick in Cruising

Survey of travel agents also shows service and adventure are major considerations

By: Kenneth Shapiro
Agents are seeing a strong cruise market this year. // © 2017 Getty Images
Agents are seeing a strong cruise market this year. // © 2017 Getty Images

The Details

Cruise Lines International Association
www.cruising.org

What:
A recent report from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found that more than 80 percent of travel agents say their cruise volume has increased in 2017, and three-quarters say their clients are spending more this year on cruise tourism. The report also noted that Alaska is the destination that has seen the most growth this year (51 percent), and 62 percent of agents say their clients are more interested in adventure travel than in years past.

Why It Matters:
Cruising is very important to travel agents, so a strong market is a good indication of how an advisor’s business is faring overall. Plus, insight into trends and customer preferences can be a big help to agents when they are trying to match clients with their ideal cruise.

Fast Facts:
- North American travelers tend to gravitate toward Western Hemisphere destinations. Alaska is currently seeing the most growth (51%), followed by Caribbean/Bermuda/Mexico (42%) and Canada/New England (31%).

- Value and service are the most important factors in driving cruise guest satisfaction, according to travel agents. Almost all customers (98%) say service is “very” or “extremely” important to their guest satisfaction, and (96%) report the same about value. These factors are followed by comfort (94%) and amenities/activities and destination (90%). Less important, but still essential, price transparency (83%), return on experience (81%), culinary options (80%) and security (79%). Entertainment (67%) and enrichment opportunities (47%) scored lowest.

- Interest in adventure isn’t coming from just one type of traveler — it comes from friend groups (62%), couples (61%), solo travelers (50%) and multi-generational groups (46%). Adventure is also found in several destinations: top choices include Alaska (76%), the Galapagos Islands (49%) and the South Pacific (33%).

- The CLIA Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report is a study conducted by CLIA. The data and research are compiled based on online survey responses from the CLIA Travel Agent Research Panel, which consists of 800 travel agents throughout North America. 

- CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association,

What They Are Saying:
“People are concerned about safety, but still want to explore new places,” said a travel professional in the report. “So Alaska has become bigger overall. I am featuring Alaska more as a potential destination and making sure it is on my clients’ radar.”

“Travelers are looking for exploration — something new and out of the box,” said one participant in the survey. “And the cruise industry offers many choices — from luxury to adventure boat experiences.”

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